Like the warm weather brings out the caravans on the roads, there were a fair few of us at Manley Mere. It was definitely the “First Day of Shorts” after what seems like an interminable long cold period of bib tights. Trevor and the mod group were bound for the excellent “Salt Barge” pub at Marston, so I rustled up a brisk ride to Winsford for Tom, John, Steve T and Darren.
We all start out the same way up Sugar Lane. We then turn left to Alvanley and down the fast descent to the outskirts of Frodsham only to slog up Howey Lane to take the top road to Kingsley. There’s definitely a spring in our cleats today as we rush through Kingsley and then off left towards the Weaver down two No Through Roads. We stop briefly at the top of Acton Bridge Hill to salute the Moderate group on their way to Marston. Out through Weaverham, we take Burrow Hill to Hartford. I’d planned to go through Davenham and Bostock Green to Winsford, but we would have arrived before we started out, so a loop goes in on the hoof towards Lach Dennis. The main roads are fast and quiet as we turn back towards Middlewich and the outskirts of Winsford. Clive Lane takes us down to the Weaver Park and out via an agricultural track by the Bottom Flash of the Weaver Navigation.
The lunch time choice was the Diner at the Old Star pub, but in the absence of any bar staff, a couple of the clientele tell me that lunch finishes today at 12:30! So back to Winsford metropolis and the Queen Anne pub. So after 33 miles, we sit outside in the sun, and Wetherspoon’s does not disappoint on price, food or beer choice; all of which come PDQ.
|By Bottom Flash|
Photograph by John Wilkie
As we congregate to leave, I notice a bald spot on Tom’s rear tyre; it had worn through to the casing and there were worrying bulges in the sidewall. Tom informs us that the tyre is “not very old". A local cyclist offers advice and informs us that Cyclone Cycles, next to the Salvation Army, should have a suitable tyre and thus will be Tom’s (and our) salvation. A Schwalbe Lugano is soon fitted and we are off for a flat ride back. Contrary to popular myth, brisk rides are not all hills!
Steve T offers that it hasn’t rained since Saturday, so this confirms to me that the entire 5 miles of the Whitegate Way will be suitable, and indeed it is. The old track is rock hard and bestrewn with walkers, their dogs, and other cyclists. At the station stop, Darren decides that the previous two days cycling have taken their toll, and he elects to wend his own way back. After exiting onto Norley Lane, we eventually take the delightful Gallowsclough Lane to enter central Norley and thence on to the Delamere roller-coaster. Rather than going up the Mouldsworth Hill, we take a bypass lane to Ashton Hayes and thence back to Manley with 51miles duly executed. Tom, John and I then make our circular way back home via Cheshire Oaks for 70-90m on the clock.